Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sudden loss of muscle tone and strength, usually caused by an extreme emotional stimulus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An abrupt loss of muscle tone, sometimes associated with narcolepsy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A morbid condition caused by an overwhelming shock or extreme fear and marked by rigidity of the muscles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sudden nervous shock which immobilizes or paralyzes the subject.

Etymologies

From Greek kataplēxis, fixation (of the eyes), from kataplēssein, to astound, terrify : kata-, intensive pref.; see cata- + plēssein, plēk-, to strike; see plāk-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Kataplexie, from Ancient Greek κατάπληξις (kataplēksis). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The 67-year-old has a sleep disorder called cataplexy, which is a symptom of narcolepsy.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • Narcoleptics like Cloud also suffer from a bizarre condition called cataplexy, in which they can collapse in a heap on the ground, conscious but essentially paralyzed.

    In Search Of Sleep

  • Individuals with the sleep disorder narcolepsy suffer with excessive daytime sleepiness and attacks of muscle paralysis triggered by strong emotions (a condition known as cataplexy).

    EurekAlert! - Breaking News

  • Carol Bell, 67, has a condition called cataplexy --it's a sleep disorder that causes temporary paralysis, and it's brought on by a particular emotion or feeling.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • The anticipation of the sugary cereal triggers one of the most striking symptoms of the disease: a temporary loss of muscle control called cataplexy, causing mice to drop in their tracks.

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  • The experiences of cataplexy and dreaming during wakefulness may be wrongly seen as a psychiatric problem.

    Narcolepsy

  • Unlike cataplexy, touching the person usually causes the paralysis to disappear.

    Narcolepsy

  • However, doctors can prescribe medications that can be effective in controlling excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, and sleep disruption.

    Narcolepsy

  • Attacks of cataplexy are sudden, brief losses of muscle control.

    Narcolepsy

  • The four most common symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations.

    Narcolepsy

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